Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Traditions and Comfort

Funny, how the repetition of a thing, even a seemingly banal thing, can suffuse it with memory.

Like, say, something as simple as a DVD you pop into the player to vid-trank the kids.   Years ago, maybe ten years ago, we were trying to pack and prepare for our departure from my in-laws house in Western Maryland.  After doing Christmas with my folks, we travel up there for a week of sledding and skiing.   The microclimate in that area of Garrett County usually serves up snow.  Or rather, it did.  We've had a lot of misses in the last five years, to the point where the ski resort nearby was forced into a bankruptcy-driven reorganization.

And on that last day, we were trying to pack up to return, and our five year old and our three year old were bopping around getting into things.  So into the DVD player went Hayao Miyazaki's light-filled and gently magical "My Neighbor Totoro," and the kids were still.

We did the same thing the next year, having brought the DVD and all.  By the next year, it felt like...well...they should watch it.

So a tradition formed, a place-marker affirming a particular moment in time, memories layered upon memories.

This year, I looked towards the sofa at our old-souled twelve year old and our six-foot, 195 pound fourteen year old.  Not children, not really, not as they once were.  They'd brought their stuff downstairs to the Dad-Loading-The-Van Staging Area.  In the crate of media and chargers was that same DVD, dropped in by habit.

So, said I, with a grin.  Want to watch Totoro?

And of course, they did.